An interview about my Presidential campaign from the Independent Political Report:
New York resident Lynn S. Kahn earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from The American University in 1977. She worked as an organizational psychologist inside federal agencies for 32 years, including 22 years with the Federal Aviation Administration and for more than six years, represented the agency on the White House Partnership to Reinvent Government. She is now in private practice.
Kahn is the author of three books: Performance Networks: Transforming Governance for the 21st Century (2009),Results at the Edge: The Ten Rules of Government Reform (2003), and Peacemaking: A Systems Approach to Conflict Management (1988).
Peter B. Gemma: Thanks for taking the time for this interview. In your book, Performance Networks: Transforming Governance for the 21st Century, you write, “Multi-agency, cross-boundary coordination and partnerships are needed to solve today’s problems. These networks coordinate, communicate, and leverage resources and best practices to deliver measurable results across traditional agency boundaries.”
What is that about, and how does it relate to your campaign platform?
Dr. Lynn S. Kahn: Thanks Peter. I have a very clear platform that I call “Fix Government, Build Peace” – this means transforming our dysfunctional federal government agency-by-broken-agency while building peace here at home and around the world. The first part requires a total overhaul of every federal agency from changing the mission and focusing priorities to reversing or deleting destructive policies. And it means going deep into the ways our agencies waste taxpayer dollars and inserting new financial requirements that support new priorities. That’s the transformation needed within agencies.
We also need to make changes regarding how federal agencies fail to coordinate with each other. I’ve found that in many cities successful efforts to transform juvenile justice systems rely on a continuum of services for young people entangled in our criminal justice systems – these services may include educational support, job training, mental health counseling, or whatever is needed. To coordinate these kinds of services, I believe local government agencies must work together to help turn around young lives. I call that type of agency coordination a “performance network,” where teams of staff from different agencies work together across traditional agency boundaries to deliver results.
The big problem is that federal agencies plan, budget, and work in isolation. We even have laws and policies that prevent cooperation across agencies that are fighting terrorism. When agencies try to work together, there is no federal office responsible for coordinating programs or integrating funding. I think the solution to this is to establish national goals, such as full employment or reducing mass incarceration or eliminating hunger, that can only be reached by cooperation – then hold the agencies in that partnership accountable for measureable results. We must transform the Office of Management and Budget into an oversight agency that should manage inter-agency coordination yet itself is organized around agency lines.
Gemma: Why are you in favor of public financing of elections?
Kahn: I am in favor of all forms of election reform: open primaries, non-partisan redistricting, term limits, public financing of elections, and overturning Citizens United. The broken two-party system and a compromised media have silenced the voices of independent and third party candidates. Fundraising for many of us has been particularly difficult. Public financing would give every candidate the opportunity to be judged on the merits of our wisdom and plans to address the challenges facing America today. I see public financing as expanding free speech not limiting the voices heard to the very rich or very powerful.
See the full interview at the Independent Political Report.